Though last year brought more rip currents to the coastal Carolinas, the El Nino weather conditions kept hurricane activity to a minimum.
But changing conditions and computer models are signaling a more active hurricane season this year, as officials expect the neutral period between an El Nino and a La Nina to occur this season. Hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
"El Nino produced too much wind shear, so they never got going," said Steve Pfaff, a National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist who spoke Tuesday during the 2010 S.C. Emergency Management Association workshop in Litchfield Beach. "I would say we're going to have a much more active hurricane season."
And that worries emergency officials, because the coastalpopulation and development continues to increase.
"We have a lot of population who have never experienced a storm. I can't imagine the type of devastation we would experience if we had a Hazel type of storm," Pfaff said. The category 4 storm roared ashore at the N.C./S.C. state line on Oct. 15, 1954, causing 95 deaths and $281 million in damage in the United States.